30 June 2015

Think Tank: Sea, air and land update (30-6-2015)

HMAS Tobruk (Background) with an LCM8 (File Photo)
Amelia Long, Palmo Tenzin and Sarah Hately

Sea State

Despite recent diplomatic tensions, two Indonesian navy vessels have docked in Darwin for annual Australian–Indonesian joint maritime exercises. Also known as AUSINDO CORPAT, the drills are designed to improve coordinated maritime security between the two nations’ militaries, and aims to target illegal activities that may take place in the two countries’ maritime zones.

Vietnamese newspapers reported last week that Chinese oil rig HD-981—the cause of last year’s conflict between China and Vietnam—has been redeployed off the coast of Hainan Island, into the disputed EEZs of the two countries. For a deeper look at the issue and its potential impact on the South China Sea tensions, have a look at The Diplomat’s piece here.

Also in the region, India’s ‘Look East (PDF)’ policy saw the Indian navy’s Eastern Fleet enter Thai and Cambodian waters last week. While visiting Thailand, INS Satpura and INS Shakti will be ‘fostering interoperability’ between the two nations, while the seamen of INS Ranvir and INS Kamorta will conduct training and medical exercises with the Cambodian navy.

And finally, check out some images of the final voyage of Australia’s oldest serving navy vessel, HMAS Tobruk, here. HMAS Tobruk has been in service since 1981, and most recently operated in PACIFIC ASSIST 2015 following Cyclone Pam’s damage to Vanuatu earlier this year. She will be decommissioned on 31 July.

AUS: Australian Air Task Group achieves major milestones

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport leads the way as RAAF jets - two F/A-18F Super Hornets and an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft - fly above heavy cloud in the Middle East. >>

The Australian Air Task Group’s air combat operations against Daesh continue to deliver precise and effective attacks, with more than 400 weapons employed against targets to degrade Daesh capability and to support Iraqi Security Forces.

This milestone was achieved with a combination of F/A-18A Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets flying a total of some 5000 hours, the E-7A Wedgetail completing 100 operational sorties, and the KC‑30A air-to-air refuelling team delivering 25 million pounds of fuel to Australian and Coalition aircraft.

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, said achieving these milestones represented both the hard work of deployed personnel and the quality of the equipment they operate.

AUS: Task Group Taji – Australian and New Zealand trained Iraqi Army Brigade ready to fight Daesh/ISIL

The combined Australian-New Zealand Task Group’s first regular Iraqi Army trainees have graduated.

More than 700 soldiers from the 16th Division’s 76th Iraqi Army Brigade have spent the past eight weeks in training at the Taji Military Complex, northwest of Baghdad.

Taji is one of four US-led Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission sites across Iraq.

The 76th Brigade graduation marks a significant milestone for the BPC mission with 10,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel trained by Coalition forces across the BPC sites.

76th Iraqi Army Brigade Commander Brigadier General Ali Khalid Abdullah Ali said he and his men felt ready to reclaim their country and take the fight to Daesh.

AUS: First RAAF C-27J Spartan arrives in Australia

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first RAAF C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond today, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the base’s establishment.

The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.

AIRMSHL Brown said the acquisition of 10 C-27J aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.

AUS: In-service support contract awarded for HMAS Choules

HMAS Choules (File Photo)
The Australian Government has awarded an in-service support contract to maintain the Bay-Class Landing Ship Dock, HMAS Choules, over the next two years.

The maintenance contract awarded to Atlantic & Peninsula Australia Pty Ltd (A&P Australia) is a fixed price performance based commercial arrangement. The contact has an initial value of $60.6 million and will see the continuation of nearly 30 jobs in the Sydney region.

With a growing maritime industry in Australian, United Kingdom-based company A&P Group Limited expanded its operations by creating a local Australian subsidiary, A&P Australia.

Parent company A&P Group Limited has been maintaining HMAS Choules since the vessel was acquired from the UK Government in October 2011.

The entry of A&P Australia into the local maritime sustainment market strengthens Australian naval sustainment capability and will provide Navy with a valuable continuity of experience and knowledge, now and into the future.

USA: US Marines embark on USNS Sacagawea to begin Exercise Koa Moana 15.2

U.S. Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, rehearse weapon presentation and four-man room clearing tactics and procedures aboard the USNS Sacagawea June 20, 2015 in Dili, East Timor in preparation for Exercise Koa Moana 15.2. The platoon of Marines will be conducting a bilateral exercise with the East Timor Defence Force, focusing on individual-level fundamentals to build proficiency in complex squad and platoon level tasks. The bilateral training will include room clearing of buildings, urban movement and patrolling. The MRF-D six-month deployment demonstrates how the Marine Air Ground Task Force is equipped and organized to carry out national objectives in cooperation with our national and international partners.

USNS SACAGAWEA, at sea -- A platoon of U.S. Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, have been preparing for the bilateral training exercise Koa Moana 15.2 in Dili, East Timor, beginning June 22.

The Marines will highlight the exercise by focusing on the fundamentals of squad and platoon-level tasks with the East Timor Defence Force. 

“We are here to conduct a bilateral training evolution and will be training alongside one platoon of the land component of the East Timor Defense Force’s naval force and one platoon of their Marines, which they refer to as F-FDTL (Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste),” said 1st Lt. Christopher Wisnowski, 1st platoon commander for Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, MRF – D. 

USA: USS Fort Worth Completes 2015 CARAT Philippines

USS Fort Worth (Image: Flickr User - U.S. Pacific Command)
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joe Bishop, USS Fort Worth Public Affairs

PUERTO PRINCESA, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) wrapped up its first-ever participation in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines following a June 26 closing ceremony held at Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon, Puerto Princesa, Republic of the Philippines.

Now in its 21st year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been an integral part of CARAT since the annual exercise series began in 1995. 

The ceremony took place the day after Fort Worth and Philippine navy ships, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16), returned from two days of joint exercises in the Sulu Sea.

USA: Pacific Partnership 2015 - USNS Mercy’s Opening Ceremony in Bougainville

USNS Mercy (File Photo)
U.S. Embassy, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: The United States Naval Ship (USNS) Mercy hospital ship arrived in Bougainville late last week, and the Pacific Partnership 2015 opening ceremony was held today, Monday, June 29th in Arawa, Bougainville. The USNS Mercy will be in Arawa until July 3 when it hoists anchor en route to Rabaul, in East New Britain Province. Among the many dignitaries attending the mission’s opening ceremony were Bougainville’s leaders, Papua New Guinean government officials, non-governmental organization representatives, civil organizations, and representatives of the United States, including Ambassador Walter North, the U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. The U.S.-led Pacific Partnership mission includes personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste, Philippines, and Japan.

Industry: Kineco Kaman Composites–India dispatches first lot of Mission Consoles to BAE Systems for P-8 Program

GOA, India (June  26, 2015)  Kineco Kaman Composites India (KKCI) Private Limited, a Joint Venture Company between Kineco Group of Goa and Kaman Aerospace Group USA, has made its first commercial dispatch of Composite Mission Consoles to BAE Systems, Inc. for the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

KKCI had earlier completed First Article Inspection phase of the composite console paving the way for this serial production. This is a historic event for KKCI and marks the beginning of its long term engagement with global aerospace OEM’s like BAE Systems.

BAE Systems initiated this sourcing activity as part of its commitment to help develop aerospace and defense industrial capabilities in India. Over the last eighteen months, the company’s team has been developing KKCI’s capabilities to achieve readiness for this production. KKCI is the first supplier in India developed through P-8 industrial commitments by BAE Systems.

Industry: CAE awarded contract from Boeing to develop four P-8A operational flight trainers for US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force

P-8A Poseidon (File Photo)
Tampa, Fla., USA, June 29, 2015 - (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE) - CAE today announced that Boeing has ordered simulator hardware for four additional P-8A Poseidon operational flight trainers (OFTs). 

Two of the P-8A OFTs are for the United States Navy, which will bring the Navy's total to 18 P-8A OFTs. The other two P-8A OFTs are part of a United States Cooperative Program via the P-8 Production, Sustainment, and Follow-On Development Memorandum of Understanding (PSDF MOU) with the U.S. Navy to provide the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with a comprehensive P-8A training system.

The contract for the two RAAF P-8A OFTs was signed in CAE's fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015 and included in the value of contracts announced on April 8, 2015. The contract for the two U.S. Navy P-8A OFTs was signed in CAE's first quarter of fiscal year 2016.